For Palace spokesman Harry Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte is the modern-day version of Datu Lapulapu, whose group protected the Philippines from Spanish colonizers.

Roque made the comparison in a Palace briefing on Tuesday, as the country marks the 500th anniversary of the Victory at Mactan.

“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is my modern day Lapulapu lalung-lalo na po sa kaniyang polisiya na independent foreign policy dahil ibig sabihin po niyan kaibigan natin ang lahat – wala tayong kaaway, wala po siyang sinasantong mga dayuhan,” Roque said.

Duterte has been widely criticized for his lack of insistence on the country’s arbitral victory over China over the West Philippine Sea since assuming the presidency in 2016.

However, Duterte has been vocal in his criticisms of Western nations, including the US and the European Union.

Lapulapu Day is a special working holiday in the country. Only in Cebu is it a public holiday.

Roque said he hoped for the holiday to be celebrated nationwide.

“Pero siguro po ay may pagkakataon po na maging national holiday rin ito…dahil kinakailangan gunitain natin talaga iyong kabayanihan ni Lapulapu,” Roque said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro